First Lady Michelle Obama is celebrating the success of her crusade to restrict children’s eating habits, insisting that she has proven the critics wrong.
“If six years ago, someone had told you … that sales of kale would jump 50 percent in just four years … you would have thought they had were out of their minds,” she said.
The First Lady recalled that when she first launched Let’s Move!, critics said that schools wouldn’t be able to make healthier meals, food manufacturers wouldn’t change their products, and kids would continue to be picky eaters.
“After all that, it turns out that kids are even more excited about this stuff than we are,” she marveled. “And after six years, it’s becoming their new normal. Many of them don’t know anything else.”
She recalled visiting schools where children were “practically licking their plates” after they were served cabbage, collard greens and sweet potatoes and praised “baked” instead of fried and sandwiches served on “homemade wheat buns.” Other healthier food she cited was “garden fresh vegetable cheese casserole” instead of macaroni and cheese. She also highlighted a school where they served “quinoa protein bars” and “beet smoothies.”
The First Lady also celebrated her efforts to propagate the message of healthy eating from an early age.
“From the time our kids are barely old enough to talk, so many of them are hearing a new set of messages and being exposed to a new set of options around healthy eating,” she said. “And they are internalizing those messages. They are owning and loving those choices.”
She took credit for helping change the culture of fast food organizations and grocery stores.
“It’s no accident that fast-food places are now serving apples and skim milk in their kids’ meals,” she said, pointing out that food and beverage companies were putting different healthier options in grocery stores.
“These companies are simply responding to rapidly changing consumer demands,” she said. “And that change is happening more quickly than we could have ever imagined.”
After boasting of all the successes of the program, the First Lady was careful to share the credit.
“I want to be very clear: You all did this, not me,” she said. “I might have added a little sparkle or publicity … but you did all the work.”
She told the audience that she was not delivering a “victory speech” and urged them to continue fighting for healthier food.
Her ultimate goal, she said was to eliminate childhood obesity forever.
“But during this first phase, we haven’t yet achieved the ultimate change we seek, which is to end our epidemic of childhood obesity once and for all,” she said.
“I’m in this, and I’m in this for life,” she concluded. “I’m in this until we fix this.”